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A Word from the Ouray Trail Group: Social Distancing for Trail Users

So what is the best way to manage encounters with other users?   During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ouray Trail Group recommends that trail users communicate as they approach each other.  Call out a greeting, especially helpful for faster parties approaching others from behind, then talk about how to pass to maintain the appropriate distance.  Usually it’s easy.  One group can step off of the trail in a safe place and let the other group pass.  But in the mountains, steep slopes or cliffs sometimes prevent a safe step-off, so the groups may need to agree to move to another spot where the bypass is safer.  More casual trail users should respect that some runners and bike riders are athletes training for competition and may feel less inclined to slow down or back up to facilitate a safe bypass.  But competitive trail users should also recognize that in these extraordinary times, public safety has to be the priority and personal training or performance goals may have to relax for a moment to share public trails safely.

The Ouray Trail Group also recommends that trail users keep a face mask handy, and slip it on when passing other users.  Dr. Unger agrees; during his trail runs he keeps a bandana around his neck and pulls it over his mouth and nose when he passes others.   As we enjoy the outdoors on our public trails, let’s remember to keep a safe distance, communicate, and share the public space with all users so everyone stays safe.

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